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Section 12 – Bail of Juvenile – Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children) Act, 2000

A juvenile in conflict with law, will not be released on bail when there are reasonable grounds to believe that (i) it is likely to bring him in association with any known criminal; or (ii) expose him to mental, physical or psychological danger; or (iii) his release is likely to defeat the ends of justice. If there is no such possibility, he must be granted bail.

In Sandeep Kumar v. State, bail was refused to juvenile for the offence of rape on a girl of six years. The juvenile used to be sent to work as daily wager by his parents indicating that economic condition of the family was not satisfactory.

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The act of rape committed by him in his house clearly shows that he had criminal tendencies and that his mother had no control over him nor was she concerned with his welfare. The act of rape could not be said to be an act done in sudden spurt of anger. Therefore, interest of justice would be defeated if the juvenile was released on bail, hence bail was refused.

The Gauhati High Court in State of Mizoram v. Rualheithunga, refused to release the juvenile on bail under Section 12 for the offence of rape. While maintaining conviction of the accused, award of sentence was, however, quashed and ordered him to be sent to Children Home.

The Rajasthan High Court in Jaif Ahmed Sheikh v. Stated referring to provision of bail under Section 12 of J.J. Act observed that a bare reading of the provision shows that it cannot be applied mechanically. The Court pointed out that “there is a wrong notion that the use of word “shall” in Section 12, leaves no option with the Court except to enlarge the accused on bail of as if offence and in any circumstance, the moment accused is able to show that he is below 18 years of age at the time of the offence.

In the instant case, the accused was alleged to have been engaged in smuggling activity, the possibility of his being associated with the gang and repeating of the offence if released on bail, could not be ruled out. Therefore, release of an accused of an offence under the NDPS Act, though he was below 18 years of age, was found to defeat the ends of justice.

In Ranjit Singh v. State of Himachal Pradesh, the Court held that a juvenile is entitled to release on bail under Section 12 of J.J. Act, unless in the opinion of the Court, on such release, he may be liable to be exposed to moral, physical or psychological danger.

In the instant case, the accused, a juvenile was alleged to have raped an eleven years old girl of S.C./S.T. community and was charged under Section 3 of the S.T./S.C. Act, 1989. No injury or sign of penetration were found in medical evidence. The petitioner was directed to be released on bail as there was no material to show that his release on bail would expose him to criminal, physical or moral danger.

In Rajesh Kumar v. State of Rajasthan, the High Court of Rajasthan held that where there is no likelihood of the juvenile falling in association of hardened and dangerous criminals, he should be released on bail.

In Gopi Nath Ghosh v. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court observed that when a juvenile is brought before the Juvenile Court (now Juvenile Justice Board under the J.J. Act of 2000) and in the opinion of the Court, after release on bail he is not likely to fall in company of known criminals or exposed to physical, mental or psychological danger or his release is not going to result in failure of justice, the bail should be granted to him and he should be released.

Sub-section (2) provides that when a juvenile in conflict with law is not released on bail by the police, then before producing him before the Juvenile Justice Board, he should not be kept in Police Custody or in jail but should be placed only in Observation Home or any other safe place.

Where the Board rejects the bail application of the juvenile keeping in view the gravity of the offence and his antecedents, he should not be remanded to jail custody but instead sent to Observation Home or any other safe place or institution.

In short, Section 12 mandates that a juvenile must be released on bail as far as possible unless there are valid reasons for not allowing him bail.

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